I love watching great inspirational movies. For 90 minutes or more I am transported to another place and time and invited into the very personal lives of all sorts of wonderful and endearing characters, some good, and some not so good. For that period of time, I completely forget about what is going on in my world and become totally enraptured in theirs. I allow these complete strangers in the big black box or on the silver screen to delight me, enchant me, captivate me, entrance me, bewitch me, beguile me, thrill me, scare me and excite me. I give them permission to touch my heart and yank at my soul.
Their hopes become my hopes, their dreams my dreams. I feel their pain, endure their sadness, suffer their transgressions and rejoice in their victories. I laugh with them and cry with them. And if I am really paying attention, they will often say something to me that will shake me up and rock my world!
All from the comfort of a state of the art movie theatre or my own couch. What could be any better than that?
Here is an example. Several years ago I visited our local movie house to watch the just released film Dead Poet’s Society. I sat in the back row, munching on my soft, buttered popcorn totally unaware that my life was about to change forever.
Dead Poets Society is set in 1959 at a conservative and autocratic boys prep school. It tells the story of an English teacher named John Keating, brilliantly played by Robin Williams, who inspires his students to change their lives of conformity through his amazing and unusual teaching of poetry and literature.
There was a scene in this film, where Robin Williams said something that made me gasp, bolt upright in my seat, fixed spellbound on his words, which were:
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
I remember I was so stunned that I spilled what was left of my popcorn all over the floor. You see, up until this point I had been working in my day job, artfully playing the career game, striving diligently to climb the corporate ladder, while pursuing my dream of becoming a published author on the weekends. I spent Saturday mornings in local cafes sipping on lattes and writing inspiring poems, uplifting stories and spiritual memoirs. On Sundays, I would record what I had written and listen to it on my way to and from the office during the week.
I realized in that split second, in that movie theatre, on that auspicious night, that I had it all wrong. I was Inspirational Movies putting the focus of my life in the wrong place. I returned the next evening to watch this film and I sat there in that same seat, waiting anxiously to hear those most inspiring words again. They literally washed over me as I crouched there in the dark, in utter delight with tears streaming down my face.
And the rest as they say is history. Shortly after that, I left my corporate position in a telecommunications company to pursue my dream. Inspirational movies can indeed change your life!